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The 5683 Day Wait
In all of my 5,582 days of life and breath, I have never felt the touch of another’s lips pressed onto my own. I have never flushed, embarrassed, because my hands were burning and coated with a layer of sweat beads. I have never sensed the swell of my heart as if it is preparing to detonate. I have never listened to the beating flutter of butterflies in my belly that flap with such raw power the interior walls of my stomach would be tickled pink. I have never even been on a coffee date.
Then, there is you.
When you were only 4,897 days old, I was deafened by the intermingling of jovial voices and spiteful voices and guttural voices and squeaky voices ranting on about you, Charlotte Sussman, and a party, which led into one loquacious crescendo about how you had laid your pubertal lips onto hers.
Only 268 days later, I spotted you with Molly Hughes, your fingers entwined with hers on the sidewalk across from my home. Your cheeks were burning red and anxious.
On the day you turned 5,346 days old, Katie Gilbert handed you a garish hot pink card, shimmering with freshly glued glitter over a poorly drawn heart. Under the inflated, cartoon heart, it read I Love You! Be Mine in cursive knolls running along the page like ink waves.
At age 5,556, the rumors of you flirting with Lena Mackay at homecoming gushed through the school like a rushing river, ordinary high school freshman chatter exploding into a series of gossip sessions and tête-à-têtes about the two of you. Lena later reported to her friends that she had butterflies when you spoke to her, butterflies that seemed like they would never die.
In your 5,621 days of life and breath, you, evidently, have felt the touch of another’s lips pressed onto your own. You have flushed, embarrassed, because your hands were burning and coated in a layer of sweat beads. You have sensed the swell of your heart as if it is preparing to detonate. And you have listened to the to beating flutter of butterflies in your belly that flap with such raw power the interior walls of your stomach would be tickled pink.
But we have one thing in common.
There is still something you have never done.
You have never been on a coffee date.
* * * * *
Me: 5, 583 days old
You: 5, 622 days old
“Do you like coffee?” You ask me in the hall one day, “because I was wondering if you’d like to go get some… with me?”
I grin, ready to nod like an idiot, but instead I hesitate. Finally the wait is over, over for me. You, well you never even passed the waiting room, have you?
“Well?” You say, hope glistening in your eyes.
I grin once again, staring at your nervous face. You, a boy who never dealt with the long, excruciating wait of your kiss or your belly butterflies, “I’ll get back to you on that,” can at least wait a little bit for your coffee.